Starting out, buying all your Muay Thai Gear upfront can be pretty pricey. There are only a couple of things you need from the get go and things you can invest in later on.
Hand Wraps: These are pretty much a must from the get go if you’re going to be doing any sort of punching. In terms of Muay Thai gear, this will probably be the cheapest thing you’ll get. In terms of quality, there isn’t much difference between the low end stuff you’ll find at Wal-mart and the quality brands.
Muay Thai Gloves: A good set of Muay Thai gloves is necessary to get started. Since they’ll be getting loads of action, this is one piece of Muay Thai gear which you want to invest in. My personal favorite brand because of the feel and quality is Fairtex, but I’ve also owned Twins and Windy and those are good too. Friends of mine have recommended Raja Gloves but they’re a bit on the pricier side.
Optional – Muay Thai Shorts: Muay Thai Shorts are short! Before investing in one of these be sure that you’re going to be comfortable moving around with your legs exposed. I put the shorts after the gloves in priority since in reality you can go without them, in regards to Muay Thai Gear that’s necessary.
Intermediate Muay Thai Gear
A custom mouthpiece: This should be the most expensive piece of equipment on your list of Muay Thai gear to purchase. However, if you get a good one, a ‘one-time’ purchase is all you need. Don’t skimp out on a solid mouthpiece. A cheap one that you mold yourself from your local department store won’t fit well and will come loose if you even loosen up your jaw one bit. The result? It hinders your exhalation causing 1) inefficient breathing, making you tire faster and 2) you spitting all over your trainer and sparring partners. For custom mouthguards, a vendor sends you a gel, you bite into it forming an exact mold of your teeth, and then you send it back. Within a couple weeks, they’ll send you back a mold. It should click right into place inside your mouth. I’ve had the same custom mouthguard now for 5 years and it is probably the one thing I’ll never have to replace, unlike my shorts, wraps, and gloves. Definitely invest in this if you’re going to be sparring. Gladiator made mine and I’m completely satisfied. Click here to check out their site.
Shin Guards: Of all the Muay Thai Gear, recommendations may vary from person to person. Shin guards are there to allow for sparring.
During sparring, while checking and kicking, there is a bit of shin conditioning going on there. My personal recommendation is to go for the thinner style shin guards to condition the shins. True they are going to hurt more during training, but it will toughen them up for when/if you decide to compete.
Cup: This is one piece of Muay Thai Gear I recommend actually going with the non-Thai brand. The Thai cups are really a pain the butt, literally. It wraps around the waist and around the butt, making it a pain in the ass to put on (pun intended). I never got used to wearing this for sparring.
Expert Level Muay Thai Gear
Boxing Mitts / Thai Pads: These can be pretty costly for a decent brand. I’d say hold off on purchasing this sort of Muay Thai gear until you’ve gained intermediate level proficiency in training. Don’t go around holding pads for others until you’re positive you know how to do it right.
One last tip…if you’re really strapped for cash, you can always find used/like new Muay Thai gear on eBay. The cost of the equipment can be up to 50% off the original price. I’ve purchased from here before and the stuff looks almost brand new. Except for the cup or mouth guard, I’d recommend looking into this for the gloves, shin guards, and thai pads/boxing mitts. I’m not the only one that’s caught onto this as this kind of stuff usually sells out quick. As for the quality, you literally couldn’t tell it was used Muay Thai gear unless I told you to start looking for slight superficial defects.